Mereenie Loop, Kings Canyon, Uluru and Katajuta Week 17 - October 18th 2010
From Redbank Gorge, around the Mereenie Loop, (Gosse Bluff, Kings Canyon) to Uluru, Katajuta, then via Henbury Meteorite Craters to Alice Springs.

Hema 7 P100

Goss Bluff. What's left of the central part of a very large (22km across) meteorite crater.

Rises out of the plain.

And the middle of Gosse Bluff.

We got to walk around and up a bit.

On the way back to the main road we spotted some grass trees.

Not quite what we are used to near Brisbane but similar.

This dingo diligently ignored us. It just happened to be loping along beside the road occasionally digging things up.
Carmichael Bluff. Part of Giles Range which includes Kings Canyon.
A Spinifex Pigeon. We first saw them a couple of weeks earlier but never near enough to photograph.

This was on the path at Kings Canyon.

Kings Canyon is sandstone.

Cross Bedding is when the layers (beds) aren't aligned. It leads to interesting erosion.

Domes at Kings Canyon.

Similar erosion pattern to Katajuta.

Deep clefts in the sandstone at Kings Canyon would eventually erode into canyons etc.
More domes at Kings Canyon.
The upper part of Kings Canyon has been made accessible by stairs.

And called "The Garden of Eden".

Beats me why the name, beut we liked the place.

Pig Face again. This time at a rest area South of Kings Canyon.
We went for a detour to see Mt Connor.

Couldn't get anywhere close to it across private land.

We did see a mob of 20 or so camels.

These tracks in the sand were near where we camped, about 30km short of Uluru Caravan Park.
And, at last, Uluru.
More Uluru. The erosion was fascinating.

Made us think it was like Swiss cheese inside with all those holes.

A permanent waterhole is at the bottom of those cliffs.
We walked around the base.

Not quite like 30 years ago, but after more than half way Ali could touch it.

Typical erosion. A crack forms due to water and a slab falls down.
We climbed it. Ali needed a rest at the top of the chain.

Difficult to describe how to be respectful of the local wishes and climb it.

A long story. Partly we felt short changed by the lack of interpretive signs (and some of those we saw were illegible). Partly we were annoyed at the very "European" don't take photos of this sacred site notices with no explanation.

The info book we needed was available at the Cultural Centre, but the info part was closed at the time we arrived.

Katajuta in the background from the top of Uluru.

We were quietly disgusted at some of the behaviour of our fellow caucasians we observed.

Couldn't see any life in the ponds at the top (they were most interesting 30 years ago). A few floating used elastoplasts, presumably from people soaking their tired feet.

Apart from that the track is well worn. Steeper than it looks and becoming dangerous.

One of the features of Uluru is that there is no scree slope, which is part of the attraction but also part of what makes the climb dangerous.

Its always going to be difficult when mass tourism meets indigenous culture. Then add national park management culture. 

We are also aware we are seen as "low value" tourists by the tourism consultants trying to push attractions up-market.

Back at camp, about 30km away from the resort we watched this Goanna go about its business of scratching things out of the ground.
And then to Katajuta. This is in the Valley of the Winds.

Quite calm when we were there.

Up and over, or through, the gorge between two domes.
These domes look remarkably similar, but bigger, to those at Kings Canyon.
And yet more domes at Katajuta. They are fascinating.

Uluru has been tilted so that the sandstone beds are vertical.

At Katajuta the beds are about 15 degrees, and its conglomerate with a sandstone matrix rather than sandstone.

Then we had to watch the sunset on Uluru.

Because of the drive back to our campsite we had tea before the sun set. Some days we just need / want a bowl of soup.

What a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

PS. This hasn't been photoshopped!

The sun did set, just as it always does.

The red sandstone colours are magic.

And the photo everyone has of Uluru.
On the way back to Alice Springs we stopped for another look at Mt Connor.

Apparently the way to see it is with a tag along tour from Curtin Springs.

Didn't seem like our cup of tea.

Henbury has 12 meteorite craters close together. Easily walked around but nevertheless among the world's largest.

This is actually two that merged. The largest.

And after all the Ghan history along the Oodnadatta Track we got to see a bit of it moving.

The road crossing near the rail station at Alice Springs.

We cheated. It wasn't the whole Ghan, just the locos shunting. Had to do something while the lights were red.

Reminded me of watching a large steam loco cross the road in Zimbabwe about 35 years ago. Diesel electric doesn't have the same romance as steam.

Finke Gorge NP (Palm Valley), Owen Springs, Coober Pedy Week 18 - October 25th 2010